December 23, 2021

Daughter of the Deep by Rick Riordan

Daughter of the Deep by Rick Riordan
Rating: 5 Stars
Release Date: October 26, 2021
Format: Hardcover (Personal Library) + Audiobook (Borrowed from Library)
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

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Rick Riordan proved that he is not limited to stories based on fantasy or mythology with his latest book, Daughter of the Deep, a sci-fi tale inspired by Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. Daughter of the Deep follows Ana Dakkar, a freshman prefect in Harding Pencroft Academy’s Dolphin House. When the unimaginable happens, Ana is forced to lead her classmates and fend off attacks from Harding-Pencroft’s rival school, Land Institute. Will she be able to successfully step into her ancestor’s shoes and come out unscathed on the other end?

There are some similarities between Ana and Percy’s stories. For example, both books have a water theme. Both Ana and Percy are put into positions of leadership because of who they are related to (Captain Nemo and Poseidon respectively). However, the similarities end there. Percy’s adventures are filled with monsters of legend and figures straight out of Greek Myth.  Ana’s adventures, while related to the tales recounted in Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and The Mysterious Island, fall under the umbrella of science fiction and things that could be achieved in the future. 

The characters in Daughter of the Deep are quite diverse. Harding-Pencroft’s freshman class and staff come from a variety of backgrounds, faiths, and experiences, and that ends up playing a role in the events of the book. Nothing ever felt thrown in just to check a box. For example, Ester Harding is the first character in one of Rick Riordan’s books to be on the autism spectrum. Rick chose not to focus on what society usually portrays as the “negative” side effects or symptoms of autism. Instead, Rick focused on how Ester’s autism ends up being a benefit to her classmates. While Ester has some struggles in human social interaction, her autism allows her to be more empathetic and enables her to communicate with sea animals. Ester’s roommates (Ana and Nelinha) never look down on her for her quirks, they simply make the adjustments necessary to make her life simpler. 

The audiobook narration was one of my favorite parts of this book. Soneela Nankani is a fantastic narrator, and she knocked it out of the park with this one. I also loved the sound effects that were played in the background. For example, there is a scene with Ana playing the pipe organ. The song that she is playing is featured in the background during that scene, and it really added to the reading experience. 

Overall, another smash hit from Rick Riordan. Full of his trademark humor and fast-paced adventure, anyone who loves the Percy Jackson books absolutely has to check out Daughter of the Deep ASAP. It is aimed at a middle-grade audience, but I believe that readers of all ages will be able to enjoy this book. If you are able, I highly recommend checking out the audiobook. As of right now, I believe the book is intended to be standalone but I’m crossing all my fingers and toes that he expands on the universe in the future. I would love to see what’s next for the new Captain Nemo and her crew.

About the Book

Ana Dakkar is a freshman at Harding-Pencroft Academy, a five-year high school that graduates the best marine scientists, naval warriors, navigators, and underwater explorers in the world. Ana's parents died while on a scientific expedition two years ago, and the only family's she's got left is her older brother, Dev, also a student at HP. Ana's freshman year culminates with the class's weekend trial at sea, the details of which have been kept secret. She only hopes she has what it'll take to succeed. All her worries are blown out of the water when, on the bus ride to the ship, Ana and her schoolmates witness a terrible tragedy that will change the trajectory of their lives.

But wait, there's more. The professor accompanying them informs Ana that their rival school, Land Institute, and Harding-Pencroft have been fighting a cold war for a hundred and fifty years. Now that cold war has been turned up to a full broil, and the freshman are in danger of becoming fish food. In a race against deadly enemies, Ana will make amazing friends and astounding discoveries about her heritage as she puts her leadership skills to the test for the first time.

About the Author

Rick Riordan is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of over twenty novels for young readers, including the Percy Jackson series, the Kane Chronicles, the Magnus Chase series and the Trials of Apollo. He is also the author of the multi-award-winning Tres Navarre mystery series for adults.

For fifteen years, Rick taught English and history at public and private middle schools in the San Francisco Bay Area and in Texas. While teaching in San Antonio, Saint Mary’s Hall honored him with the school’s first Master Teacher Award.

While teaching full time, Riordan began writing mystery novels for grownups. His Tres Navarre series went on to win the top three national awards in the mystery genre – the Edgar, the Anthony and the Shamus. Riordan turned to children’s fiction when he started The Lightning Thief as a bedtime story for his oldest son.

Today, over one hundred million copies of his books are in print in the United States alone, and rights have been sold into more than 37 countries.

Rick Riordan now writes full-time. He lives in Boston with his wife and two sons.

Check out my other reviews of books by Rick Riordan

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